When the pandemic hit, Kimberlee Roberts started a pandemic hobby of learning how to bake.

Kimberlee Roberts is a Riverview resident, wife, mom of two young men, a student and the lead singer of local rock group, Mad With Power. When the pandemic hit, Roberts had to learn to navigate taking her classes online and keep her busy since she couldn’t perform with her band.

“Netflix became a daily respite early on during quarantine,” Roberts said. “My husband, Jody, and I started watching The Great British Baking Show, and after binging the first season, I was hooked. I started following baking sites on Instagram, like King Arthur Baking Company, as well as some of the bakers from the show. My favorite Great British Baking Show winner is Nancy Birthwhistle. She always responds to questions on her Instagram account, along with posting some fun and instructional videos that feature some great musical selections.”

Bread became Roberts’ go-to baking item.

“I started with oatmeal bread, then graduated to sourdough,” Roberts said. “Sweet bakes are occasional. I don’t like having them around the house all of the time since there’s just two of us and I have no self-discipline when it comes to sugar. I haven’t had too many mishaps so far. I’m a perfectionist, so I think that’s why baking appeals to me. Everything in baking is precise. The kitchen scale is my best friend. My first freestyle sourdough loaf was more of a flatbread. I just keep researching ideas and tips hoping to learn what I can do to improve.”

Robert’s favorite sweet treat she baked was chocolate babka.

“The pandemic gave us what we all complain that we need more of: time,” Roberts said. “There are only so many TV programs you can binge before your eyeballs wear out. Why not put that spare time to good use learning something you’ve always wanted to try but never did?”

Roberts’ new pandemic hobby has turned into something that will be a part of her new normal: baking.

“I will absolutely be continuing my baking hobby,” Roberts said. “In fact, I just applied to Manatee Technical Institute’s 600-hour Baking and Pastry Course for next spring.”